Ahmed Patel RS Poll Case: No written complaint filed against breaches, Jadeja tells High Court

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel. (File)

Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja on Wednesday told the Gujarat High Court during the hearing of a petition by BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput challenging the August 8, 2017 election of Ahmed Patel to the Rajya Sabha, that no written complaint was filed regarding the polling day breaches with the Election Commission, or the returning officer and chief electoral officer.

Jadeja, who was a polling and counting agent for BJP leader Amit Shah, during the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls, deposed as a witness for Rajput who was with the Congress earlier, but changed sides before the election.

B B Naik, representing Patel, said during cross-examination, "No written complaint was made either to the election commission or to the chief electoral officer, B B Swain, or to the returning officer, D M Patel, regarding disclosure of vote by Congress MLAs Shailesh Parmar and Mitesh Garasiya to Congress-authorised agent Shaktisinh Gohil and others". Jadeja attested this statement to be true, although he mentioned, "I've written (about these two particular candidates' election day breaches) in my affidavit." The Election Commission guidelines stipulate that complaints regarding the poll process breach must be filed in a written format.

Pointing out the lack of written complaints, Ahmed Patel's representatives said that "such details have been provided only much later in the affidavit".

During cross-examination, when Advocate Naik told Jadeja that "you have made a false affidavit so as to save Balwantsinh Rajput," the latter denied the allegation. When Naik asked if the BJP had poached six Congress MLAs during the Rajya Sabha election with the promise of a ticket in the December 2017 Assembly polls, Jadeja denied the allegations and said, "Tickets are only given to candidates depending on their popularity among the electorate and ensuring zone-wise or geographical representation. Furthermore, tickets are decided by the BJP's regional parliamentary board in consultation with the BJP's central parliamentary board." He also denied that tickets were given to all the MLAs who switched from the Congress to the BJP ahead of the RS elections.

Jadeja, however, admitted that former Congress MLAs Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Ramsinh Parmar, C K Raulji, Raghavji Patel, Amit Chaudhary, Tejeshri Patel and Amit Chaudhary were given BJP tickets in 2017. But he denied that Tejeshri was among those who switched to the BJP during the RS elections. She had joined much earlier, he said.